Farm News, June 18, 2019

One thing that’s crazy about this time of year is that even though we are at peak daylight hours (the summer solstice is Thursday!), there never seems to be enough time to get the work done.  Planting season is still in full swing with winter squash, Brussels sprouts, more cukes and summer squash, fall cabbage and carrots going in, along with the weekly plantings of lettuce and salad mix.  The problem is, as soon as you pop the plants in the ground, a miniature forest of weeds springs up and starts racing your crop to see who will win the race to the top.  The weeds had been set back by the cool, cloudy weather we had earlier in the season, but the soil has absorbed enough heat now, and the race is on.   

Dana knows the well-kept secret that the half rotten berries are the sweetest!

We have one last big job left over from early spring “project season”, and that is to skin the new greenhouse we started building last fall.  It is just staring at us, almost completely done. We really do need to cover it, as Rebecca announced she is potting up 300 tomato plants for an early fall crop, and we need to finish their home!  We are hopeful we can squeeze this in, but now that harvest season is ramping up, it gets harder to find the time as each week passes.

James captured this shot of some feathered friends in the strawberries.. amazing!
Continuing the theme, here is Connor’s shot of a black swallowtail butterfly caterpillar on the parsley.

Strawberries continue to do well, but the weather forecast is not a kind one for ripe berries.  We should have good picking through the weekend but it’s better to come earlier than later.   On the other hand, the cool, wet weather has been great for our spring greens crops, and we have piles of fresh lettuce, spinach, kale, chard, and salad mix, along with shoots and microgreens from our greenhouse.  The first tender carrots are just about ready now, along with some beautiful bunched beets.

We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,

Paul and Rebecca for Lauren and the Fort Hill Farm Crew

Local, pasture raised meat is available at the farm!

This year, we are happy to be partnering with Howling Flats Farm in Canaan, CT.  Cuts are available in the freezer right below the pick your own board in our barn.  You can check them out at http://www.howlingflatsfarm.com.  Here’s more about the farm from Kelley Babin farm owner:

“Howling Flats Farm is a small family farm raising pasture proteins (grass-fed and finished beef, pasture raised, non-gmo fed pork and poultry).  In 2008 we had a small flock of chickens and two cows.   For the last ten years we have slowly been growing to offer our neighbors local, nutrient dense food.  As our own family is expanding, we are even more committed to providing healthy family food.  Our goal every day is to make sure our livestock receives the highest quality feed and is well cared for.  We are so thankful to our customers who support our little farm!”

Featured this week:

After a few of years of trialling over 20 varieties, we are growing for real all of the colors of the rainbow in carrot form – big news for a veggie farm!

Carrots:  our first of the season, and worth the wait.  Carrots can be a little tricky to grow in New England, and we are always relieved to see them sizing up in the field. These babies are the most tender, sweet, and crisp, and they fill the cooler with a carrot perfume, which can only mean summer has arrived!

Scallions: I love having fresh scallions on hand to amp up the flavors of summer salads, salsas, frittatas, etc., because scallions seem to intensify the flavors of its surrounding ingredients for minimum effort on my part. As evidenced by the recipes below, thisgreen onion is versatile! Scallionswill store for about a week in your fridge.

Also available:

salad mix, arugula, spinach, pea shoots, sunflower shoots, microgreens, head lettuce, curly green and lacinato kale, rainbow chard, fresh herbs, escarole, sweet potatoes, fennel, scallions, salad turnips, baby bok choy, French Breakfast and red radishes, kohlrabi, Chinese Cabbage, garlic scapes, frozen baby ginger, strawberries and the first cherry and slicing tomatoes as they come in!

Coming Soon:

Summer Squash and cucumbers!

Pick Your Own:

Strawberries! There is still a nice pick out there, although we are seeing some damage from the excessive rain. Don’t let the showers deter you from picking, because they are ready now and the season is fleeting (less than a week of picking left)!

Fresh herbs: parsley, cilantro, thyme, sage, oregano, marjoram, chives

*** Just like last year, CSA members may take a small (mixed or not) PYO herb bunch for free, one bunch per share per week! Please see sample sizes in the barn.

PYO begins 30 before and goes 30 minutes beyond barn hours.


Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie. For more recipes, check out the Fort Hill Farm Recipe Database

Photograph courtesy of the Original Dish


Roasted Carrots with Scallion Vinaigrette

Recipe by Kayla Howey of the Original Dish

Scallion Vinaigrette

1 tbsp olive oil

1 shallot, thinly sliced

4 scallions

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tbsp honey

1/3 cup neutral oil (safflower, grapeseed, vegetable, etc.)

½ cup raisins

kosher salt

Roasted Carrots

½ cup raw hazelnuts

2 bunches long baby carrots, scrubbed and halved

olive oil

kosher salt

feta cheese, shaved or crumbled (as much as you’d like)

carrot top leaves, to garnish (optional)

instructions

Scallion Vinaigrette

Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the shallots. Cook until tender and caramelized, just a few minutes, stirring often.

Lower the heat and toss in the scallions. Continue to cook for another minute.

Stir in the white wine vinegar and honey. Let the mixture come to a bubble and simmer for a minute. Turn off the heat.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and slowly drizzle in the neutral oil until emulsified. Fold in the raisins. Season with salt to taste.

Let the vinaigrette sit while you make the carrots.

Roasted Carrots

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lay the hazelnuts out onto a baking sheet. Roast for 5 minutes. Let cool just slightly and use a kitchen towel to rub the hazelnuts between your hands in order to remove the skins. Discard the skins. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and set aside.

Meanwhile, lay the halved carrots out onto a baking sheet. Toss with enough olive oil to coat them well. Spread them into one, even layer. Season with a pinch of salt.

Roast the carrots for 12-15 minutes, or until tender and slightly caramelized (time may vary depending on your oven).

Toss the warm carrots with the scallion vinaigrette. Serve them with the chopped roasted hazelnuts, feta cheese, and carrot top leaves (optional) on top.

Cheddar Scallion Drop Biscuits

Adapted from GourmetMagazine

Don’t forget to sprinkle microgreens on the top of this soup!

INGREDIENTS

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons sugar (optional)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 

6 oz Cheddar, coarsely grated (1 1/2 cups)

6 scallions, finely chopped

1.5 cups well-shaken buttermilk

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, then blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in Cheddar and scallions. Add buttermilk and stir until just combined.

Drop dough in 12 equal mounds about 2 inches apart onto a buttered large baking sheet (or alternatively, in muffin tins). Bake in middle of oven until golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Makes 12 biscuits.

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